Vienna, Part II: The Eighteen-Sixties

During a period of Austrian decline as a great power, writes Tudor Edwards, Vienna flourished in an atmosphere of expansive gaiety.

The Burgring section of the Ringstrasse in 1872Viennese social life, in the first year of the decade 1860, is reflected in the Richard Strauss-Hofmannsthal opera Arabella, which, however, was not produced until 1933. Yet, although it provides a bird’s-eye view of the upper-class milieu, it gives little or no hint of the splendours and miseries of the period. Outside the pillared and car-touched Baroque palaces, flunkeys stood in three-cornered hats and fur coats braided with gold, carrying tall staffs surmounted with large golden crowns.

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